I love newspapers. I worked in them for almost 25 years. But I’m not itching to bail out a business that is failing in large part because it was so transcendentally greedy in its monopoly era that it passed on every opportunity to survive against real financial competition. With a few exceptions, the newspaper industry essentially deserves to die at this point.
Dan Gillmor, author of ‘We the Media’ and director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in the US, argues in this article for Salon that its not journalism that needs to be subsidised – as suggested by the initial findings of the US’ Federal Trade Commission’s research into the state of the industry – but the infrastructure that makes online publishing and distribution possible.
If you want to worry about a threat to the journalism of tomorrow, consider the power being collected by the so-called “broadband” providers right now.
If we’re going to spend taxpayers’ money in ways that could help journalism, let’s make that benefit a byproduct of something much more valuable. Let’s build out our data networks the right way, by installing fibre everywhere we can possibly put it. Then, let private and public enterprises light it up.